Bocchette Centrali via ferrata, Brenta Dolomites
APT Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo, Val Rendena Verified partner
Prime scale sopra la Bocca d'Armi lungo la via ferrata Bocchette CentraliPhoto: Apt Madonna di Campiglio Pinzolo Val Rendena FA, APT Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo, Val Rendena
A spectacular itinerary with a great view from the most aerial of ledges in the Brenta Dolomites. A dream hike for thrill seekers looking for altitude, cliff faces, and stunning panoramas.
The Bocchette Centrali via ferrata heads into the untamed heart of the Brenta Dolomites beneath majestic spires including Brenta Alta, Campanil Basso, Alto, Torre di Brenta, and Crozzon. This panoramic itinerary is a celebration of high-altitude cliff faces and runs along exposed ledges (at altitudes of between 2,500m/8,200’ and 2,800m/9,185’) that call for a good head for heights.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful and most thrilling of the Brenta Dolomite trails featuring panoramas you won’t find anywhere else. The via ferrata itself takes about 4 hours, but you will need to take account of the round trip to get to the trail (about 4-7 hours) when calculating the total time of your outing.
The itinerary can be done either clockwise (from Rifugio Alimonta to Bocca di Brenta) or counter-clockwise (from Rifugio Pedrotti to Bocca di Brenta to Rifugio Alimonta), the latter of which features better lighting conditions. The route is well equipped with iron cabling and rungs, but is recommended for expert, physically fit mountaineers due to length, exposure, and technical difficulty.
Outlets: none. Include pickaxes and crampons in your gear if the trail is expected to still be snowy or icy. Start out early and take liquids.
Please note that the practicability of the itineraries in a mountain environment is strictly linked to the contingent conditions and is therefore influenced by natural phenomena, environmental changes and weather conditions. For this reason, the information contained in this page may have changed. Before leaving for a tour, make sure the path you will approach is still accessible by contacting the owner of the mountain hut, the alpine guides or the visitor centres of the nature parks, the info offices of the local tourist board.
Tips and hints
From Rifugio Alimonta (2,580m / 8,465 ft), follow trail no. 0305 past the Armi hanging glacier (where crampons are recommended and often needed) and on to Bocca degli Armi (2,747m / 9,012 ft), where the via ferrata begins off to the right. Bocca degli Armi is located between Cima degli Armi and Torre di Brenta. From the col, there is an equipped route up to a small, rocky shoulder. Just before this shoulder, there is a small, natural window in the rock that frames the view of Lake Molveno and Paganella. Cross the shoulder, then cross an exposed section to the natural ledge that cuts across the north face of Torre di Brenta. Along this ledge, hang onto the cable as you head to the eastern side of Torre di Brenta, then head around the corner and enjoy the breathtaking panorama. Stretched out before you there is Campanile Basso and Cima Brenta Alta, as well as Lake Molveno off in the distance.
Continue along the east face of Sfulmini and of Campanile Alto. One of the most stunning sections of this via ferrata is the ledge dedicated to Carla Benini de Stanchina, which is on the east face of Sfulmini. This natural ledge looks as though it was carved in the rock, and you will find yourself surrounded by rock beneath your feet, to one side, and above your head. At the start of the ledge, you will have a beautiful view of Campanile Basso, so it is definitely worth stopping to take a photo. In 1926, Pino Prati described Campanile Basso as a fantastic obelisk of rock, the most elegant spire in all the Alps. In 1949, Ettore Castiglioni wrote that no other Alpine peak deserves the name “Campanile” (Italian for “bell tower”) more than this one. At a height of 300m (985 ft) and with perfectly symmetrical walls, Campanile Basso is detached from all the other nearby mountains, having a shoulder only on the west wall that descends for 350m (1,150 ft) above Val Brenta.
Continuing on, you will cross a number of fissures and reach a ledge cut through the east face of Campanile Alto. You will then reach the base of Sentinella (a small peak named by Italo Lunelli and Vittorio Emanuele Fabbro in 1911 because it was said to be keeping watch over Campanile Basso). Here you will find a natural terrace from which to enjoy the stunning view. To the right, you can see Crozzon di Brenta, Cima Tosa, the Adamello group, and Presanella, while to the left you can see Val delle Seghe and Paganella. In front of you, you may see climbers heading up the sides of Campanil Basso. Head down to the col of Campanile Basso, to the right of which is the start of the standard route up Campanile Basso (UIAA grade IV, YDS 5.5), whereas the Bocchette Centrali via ferrata shifts over to the north face of Cima Brenta Alta. Follow the ledge that cuts across the cliff and the various fissures, then follow the equipped route up to another rocky ledge that cuts across the entire west face of Cima Brenta Alta.
Certain sections of this ledge are equipped with wood bridges, and you will also find a small source of water coming out of the cliff face. You will then descend to the end of Bocchette Centrali, which is about 50m (165 ft) below Bocca di Brenta (2,553m / 8,375 ft). Here you have two options: descend along trail no. 0318 to Rifugio Brentei (2,182m / 7,159 ft) or head to Bocca di Brenta along a portion of the hanging glacier, where you will need to be careful of the snow and ice, and then continue along the opposite side of the col, where you will reach Rifugio Tosa & Pedrotti (2,491m / 8,173 ft) in just a few minutes.
Shuttle bus service (in summer, from late June to early September) from Madonna di Campiglio (Piazza Brenta Alta) to Vallesinella.
- Check schedule and prices of thr summer transportation online or ask for the booklet from the tourist office.
- You may also check the bus schedule of Trentino Trasporti www.ttesercizio.it.
To get to Rifugio Alimonta (normally you will want to book the day before taking on the via ferrata):
- from Vallesinella by way of trails 317 and 318 to Rifugio Brentei and then to Rifugio Alimonta by way of trail 323 (3-4 hours);
- from Rifugio Tuckett by way of the SOSAT or Bocchette Alte via ferrata.
The trail can be done in the opposite direction by starting from Rifugio Tosa Pedrotti, which can be reached on foot from Vallesinella by way of Rifugio Brentei in about 3-4 hours.
ParkingAmple paid parking is available in Vallesinella, although access is restricted (check summer schedule and pricing online).
Book recommendation by the author
- "La via delle Bocchette e le vie ferrate. Dolomiti di Brenta", by Pio Ferrari (Italian edition published by Rendena)
- "La Via delle Bocchette e le Ferrate del Brenta", by Roberto Ciri (Italian edition published by Idea Montagna)
Book recommendations for this region:
Recommended maps for this region:
- technical mountain clothing
- hiking boots with Vibram or similar sole
- via ferrata gear
- pickaxe and crampons (when necessary)
- a length of rope (recommended)
Questions and answers
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